With colder temperatures, many of us spend longer periods indoors. As a result, we are exposed to an increase in common indoor allergens (such as dust mites, animal dander and cockroaches).
Our allergies can get even worse during the holidays. Many people suffer from allergic and non-allergic rhinitis related to strong scents used to bring holiday cheer, dust from decorations removed from storage and mold on artificial Christmas trees. Rhinitis is a fancy word for nasal symptoms, including a runny nose, sneezing, nasal congestion, postnasal drip and/or nasal itching. Dusty decorations can also cause itchy, watery eyes.
Clean Holiday Decorations
Your holiday decorations may be covered in dust and other indoor allergens when you take them out of storage.
Even if your decorations do not have a lot of dust on them, you should clean them. A handheld vacuum cleaner could get the job done. If you need a deeper clean, you can mix water and dishwashing liquid in a bucket and wipe the items gently with microfiber cloths. Allow your decorations to air dry.
You should wear a mask and gloves when cleaning your Christmas tree, wreaths and other decorations to decrease your exposure to allergens. Cleaning them outdoors in a well-ventilated area is helpful in preventing symptoms.
When returning your tree to storage, use a Christmas tree bag to protect it from dirt and dust. It will make cleaning easier in the future.
Think Twice About Scents
Most of us love the wonderful scents of the season, but these can cause nasal and eye symptoms, as well as headaches for some people. If you suffer from nasal symptoms when exposed to strong odors, think twice about those scented holiday candles and air fresheners.
Buy Gifts Carefully
It is also wise to think about allergies when buying gifts. Many people cannot wear perfumed lotions, creams or body gels because it irritates their skin. Cologne and perfume can affect the nose and skin as well. Consider non-scented gifts for family and friends.
To relieve your allergy symptoms, oral antihistamines, nasal steroid sprays and eye drops may help. Please discuss if these medications are right for you with a primary care physician or an allergist.